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Home > Birds > Goffin’s Cockatoo: Personality, Food, & Care Guide (With Pictures)

Goffin’s Cockatoo: Personality, Food, & Care Guide (With Pictures)

Goffin's Cockatoo

The Goffin’s Cockatoo (Cacatua goffiniana) is one of the smallest of the white cockatoos. It is a very interesting bird to breed in captivity due to its outstanding intelligence. They are also gentle, playful, and very affectionate little clown – in short, they are excellent pets. They do, however, need a lot of attention, but are not as demanding or possessive as white cockatoos.


Species Overview

Goffin's Cockatoo on log
Image By: vinsky2002, Pixabay
Common Names: Tanimbar Cockatoo, Tanimbar Corella
Scientific Name: Cacatua goffiniana
Adult Size: 12 inches
Life Expectancy: up to 40 years

Origin and History

Goffin’s cockatoos are endemic to Tanimbar and neighboring small islands (Yamdena, Larat and Selaru) in Maluku province, Indonesia. Feral populations have also settled in the Kai Islands. Given the very small area of its distribution area, the species is considered to be monotypic.

Unfortunately, due to habitat destruction and illegal hunting, the Goffin cockatoo population is declining, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


This cute cockatoo is endowed with tremendous energy and spends its time playing, flying and screaming vigorously. Watching him play is also great fun, as he loves to move around by hopping.

Goffin’s cockatoos are known to be both hyperactive and emotionally dependent, so you need to be ready to fully commit to your relationship with this bubbly little pet bird. Indeed, they must be constantly stimulated so that they do not start tearing their feathers out of boredom.

Besides, Goffin’s cockatoo is known to be extremely clever. Indeed, a scientific study has shown that these birds can solve simple problems. They had to be successful in solving different locking devices, and most fixed the problem after just one attempt.

  • Lively
  • Affectionate
  • Highly intelligent
  • Require lots of attention
  • Expensive

Speech & Vocalizations

Compared to other bird species, the Goffin’s cockatoo is relatively quiet. But don’t worry, if your bird needs your attention, he’ll let you know! And if you want to teach him to speak, you will have to be patient, because he is not as good as a parrot. But with consistency, you should be able to teach him a few words. And if you want to be entertained, turn on the music; they love to dance and act like little clowns, for your greater enjoyment.

Goffin’s Cockatoo Colors and Markings

Goffin’s cockatoo has all-white plumage, except for the facial feathers, which are pink or salmon. Its beak is pale gray. In addition, unlike other species of birds, there is no color difference between male and female.

Its feathers under the wings and tail are a yellowish tint. This small cockatoo is often confused with the Cockatoo corella (Cacatua sanguinea) because of their similar appearance.

Caring for the Goffin’s Cockatoo


It is essential for birds to have plumage in good condition: their ability to fly, and therefore their survival in the wild, directly depend on it.

Even in the case of companion birds, they are very hygienic and strive to keep their plumage clean at all times. You can help your Goffin’s cockatoo to groom itself by providing it with a bathtub, or by having it take daily showers.

These birds also love to take baths. You can put a shallow container filled with warm water directly into the cage for smaller species. A larger person can be placed under a tap of lukewarm water. You can also improvise a shower by spraying it. However, avoid wetting his bowl and the bottom of his cage, which could become moldy.

  • Note: Never use soap or shampoo to clean your bird, as these products could be toxic. Pure water is all that your pet needs for his hygiene.


Goffin’s cockatoos are curious and love to chew on things in their surroundings, but they’re not as destructive as other cockatoos. Always provide them with toys, wooden blocks or branches to chew on to keep them active and entertained.


If you don’t want your cockatoo to be overly stressed and anxious, you should start socializing him at a young age: introduce him to new people, expose him to a variety of situations such as new cages, toys and visits to the veterinarian.

Common Health Problems

Goffin's cockatoos are relatively healthy birds but are sensitive to the following:
  • Psittacin beak and feather disease
  • Feather picking
  • Obesity
  • Bacterial and fungal infections
  • Sarcocystis (fatal parasitic infection)
  • Fatty liver disease

Diet and Nutrition

Goffin’s cockatoos are picky eaters. They should be fed a granulated diet; high protein diets are a great staple food for cockatoos. You also should supplement this diet with fresh fruits and vegetables to add variety. Feed about 1/4 cup of granulated diet and 1/4 cup of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Make sure the food they eat is nutritious, and avoid giving them large amounts of sunflower seeds or other high-fat seeds.

  • Note: Closely monitor your bird’s food intake, as Goffin’s cockatoos are prone to overweight.


Goffin’s cockatoos are active birds and need a lot of exercise to thrive and stay healthy. Therefore, you should be prepared to give your pet bird a minimum of three hours of supervision per day outside his cage to allow him to play and stretch his wings.

Interactive toys are also a good choice to make sure your bird gets the exercise they need to stay in good physical condition. Since they are very intelligent birds, interactive toys not only provide all the exercise they need, but they are also a way to stimulate their mind.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Goffin’s Cockatoo

Your first step should be to contact specialist bird breeders and spend time with them. Experienced caretakers will help you determine if these birds are the right choice for your lifestyle. Also, be aware that Goffin’s cockatoo is not a cheap bird: you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000, which makes it quite an expensive species!

Above all, be careful if you adopt a Goffin cockatoo from a shelter; it is possible that he has developed self-destructive behaviors, which will require a lot of adaptation and work to allow him to regain a little docility. Adopting from a shelter is therefore not recommended if it is your first Goffin cockatoo. On the other hand, if you have enough experience raising these birds and feel up to the challenge, adoption could be a great option.



In short, the Goffin’s cockatoo is a playful, agile, affectionate, and very intelligent little bird. Its life expectancy is also very long; if you take good care of it, it can be your companion for 40 long years. So, take your time before acquiring such a bird, because although it does not require too demanding care, you will still have to take care of it for almost half a century.

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Featured Image Credit: Murilo Mazzo, Shutterstock

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